A report from The Guardian:The vast patch of garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean is far worse than previously thought, with an aerial survey finding a much larger mass of fishing nets, plastic containers and other discarded items than imagined.
A reconnaissance flight taken in a modified C-130 Hercules aircraft found a vast clump of mainly plastic waste at the northern edge of what is known as the "great Pacific garbage patch," located between Hawaii and California.
The density of rubbish was several times higher than the Ocean Cleanup, a foundation part-funded by the Dutch government to rid the oceans of plastics, expected to find even at the heart of the patch, where most of the waste is concentrated.
The heart of the garbage patch is thought to be around 1m sq km (386,000 sq miles), with the periphery spanning a further 3.5m sq km (1,351,000 sq miles).
The dimensions of this morass of waste are continually morphing, caught in one of the ocean's huge rotating currents.
|Around 90% of the world’s sea birds have eaten plastic items that they mistook for food, a study estimates. Photograph: Chris Jordan/Midway: Message from the Gyre|
Following a further aerial survey through the heart of the patch on Sunday, the Ocean Cleanup aims to tackle the problem through a gigantic V-shaped boom, which would use sea currents to funnel floating rubbish into a cone.
A prototype of the vulcanized rubber barrier will be tested next year, with a full-sized 100km (62-mile) barrier deployed by 2020 if trials go well.
"Normally when you do an aerial survey of dolphins or whales, you make a sighting and record it," said Boyan Slat, the founder of the Ocean Cleanup.
"That was the plan for this survey. But when we opened the door and we saw the debris everywhere. Ever half second you see something. So we had to take snapshots -- it was impossible to record everything. It was bizarre to see that much garbage in what should be pristine ocean."